Join us on our exploration of Venetian Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. From the enchanting Adriatic coastline, to silver lakes and Alpine peaks, medieval castles, and Italian inspired architecture, our tour uncovers the wealth of natural beauty and cultural history of Slovenia, often described as Europe's "boutique destination". Away from big crowds, you will experience an unusual and engaging cultural blend of some of Europe's least-discovered landscapes. Visit also Croatia, and explore a Tuscan-like Istrian peninsula crammed with hill-top villages and rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves. The luxurious, Kempinski Palace will be your home for five nights, then you will conclude your journey with a two night stay in Venice.
Embark on your overnight international flight to Venice, Italy. Meals and refreshments served on board.
Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport by your Aventura World Tour Director and transferred to your hotel for checkin. Experience Slovenia and the azure of the Mediterranean and Alpine peaks all in a country the size of West Virginia. Welcome to Portoroz and Kempinski Palace Portoroz, once one of the most important resorts for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and currently one of the finest hotels between Venice and Dubrovnik. This afternoon you have the opportunity to relax, maybe take a stroll along the seafront before a welcome dinner. (D)
Today after breakfast at the hotel, leave Portoroz for a tour to the Istrian peninsula in Croatia. Spend the morning exploring the historic old town of Porec, where Roman architectural layout beautifully blends with Venetian gothic palazzos. Visit St. Euphrasius Basilica, a 6th century Byzantine Church and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue your tour by exploring Istria's countryside, its huge tracts of vineyards and olive groves, a region that is becoming a center for gastronomic delights, including the locally venerated truffle. As part of our Cultural Discovery Series, you visit a family farm for truffle hunting with a master and his dog, and then enjoy our truffle based light lunch at the family farm. (B,L)
This morning you have a free day to explore Portoroz and its surroundings or head to Piran and the Lipizzaner stallions on an optional tour. Piran is one of the most photogenic towns in the Mediterranean, influenced by the Venetian Republic this lovely town draws inevitable comparison with Venice, only here there are no canals. You then continue to Lipica Stud Farm, home of the glamorous Lipizzaner horses. The Stud Farm was established in 1580 by Charles II of Austria, and since then has been breeding the finest horses for Haute Ecole riding, many of which were used at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. (B)
Today, after breakfast, continue your travel adventure traction...discovering the storybook alpine village of Bled, Slovenia's most visited. Acclaimed as one of Europe's most beautiful mountain resorts, the village features a picture-perfect castle surrounded by snow-capped peaks, overlooking a glittering lake in a tranquil valley -- it's a setting that seems to be etched straight out of a blissful fairytale. On a guided tour you will discover the magic of Bled, from its enchanting castle and charming cottages, to its amazing coastal splendors. Then, let us take you to a delicious schnapps tasting on the farm near Bled – Cultural Discovery Series. Try up to eight tasteful liqueurs combined with a home-made fare from the kitchen. We continue to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Take-in the splendid ambiance as you visit the city's many sights, including the Three Bridges and the Central open-air market, Parliament, Robba's Fountain, and the Baroque town hall. Overnight in Portoroz. (B)
This morning you have a free day to shop for local goods or depart for a full day optional tour to Pula and Rovinj in Croatia. Start with a visit to Pula, home to some of the best Roman ruins in Europe, including an amphitheater from the 1st century AD and Pula's old town known for the elegant buildings dating from its centuries spent under the Venetian and Austro-Hungarian rule. Continue to Rovinj, the quintessential fishing village, and one of the most photographed towns in Croatia. From the air, its location on a promontory makes it look like a fairy-tale village suspended on a pillow of the bright blue sea. Your walking tour includes a visit to the old town, a protected monument, and one of Istria's most visited sites. Return to hotel for overnight. (B)
Today you depart Portoroz and drive to Trieste, a handsome city whose history is more tied to Vienna than to Venice. Following your walking tour of the historic center, we visit the majestic Castello di Miramare built by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg for his beautiful wife, Charlotte of Belgium in 1860. He wanted a residence far away from the Habsburg Court, on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Then we continue to Venice, our home for the next two nights. (B)
Explore the romantic City of Canals on a guided tour through classically elegant Venice. With more than 400 bridges, your exploration will visit the must-see sights including St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Shop the handmade glass shops before trying on a mask in the masquerade shops that dot the streets under the majestic architecture of this inspired place. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,D)
After breakfast transfer to the Venice Marco Polo Airport for your return flight home. (B)
Today you will gaze upon the largest lake in all of Italy, Lake Garda. The lake, located between Brescia and Verona, is surrounded by mountains formed by glaciers from the last Ice Age. On a full-day excursion, you will explore the ancient town of Sirmione, located on the South end of the lake, home to the popular Virgilio and Catullo Spa Complexes. Further along, tour Verona, where Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers' tormented relationship Romeo and Juliet is set. Verona enchants with its picturesque cobblestone streets, dozens of churches and world-renowned Arena Di Verona, the Roman Empire's third largest amphitheater where opera performances are still performed to this day. (B)
After breakfast enjoy a full free day to explore the unearthly city of water and stone that rises like a vision from the waters of the lagoon. Meet the local inhabitant's, cruise the city's waterways and became part of Venice. See the ornate palaces that line the Grand Canal, have a coffee in St. Mark's Square, relax the day is yours. (B)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)